Whittier–Over the past couple of weeks, the city of Whittier has seen a rash of attempted kidnappings. While it has been determined that this incident was unrelated to the previous ones, Whittier Police, with the assistance of some local witnesses, arrested a man who attempted to abduct an 18-year-old woman.
According to a Whittier Police Department press release, on March 6th, officers responded to the 6700 block of Greenleaf Avenue in the Uptown Whittier area after receiving reports of a possible kidnapping in progress. By the time officers arrived, the suspect had already been detained by several witnesses on the scene.
Preliminary investigations have revealed that the victim and the suspect, later identified as 41-year-old David Polanco, had met up earlier in the day. Both had willingly spent time together in the Uptown Whittier area before Polanco tried to pull the victim into an alley at approximately 2:02 PM. Witnesses told police that when Polanco heard a 911 call being made, he attempted to flee. That’s when some witnesses took action and detained Polanco until authorities arrived.
Polanco was charged with kidnapping and is currently being held on $100,050 bail. Polanco lived in the Los Angeles County area of Whittier and was a registered sex offender. While police hadn’t initially ruled out Polanco’s connection to a couple of other recent attempted kidnappings in the Whittier area, after showing Polanco’s picture to the victims, authorities announced on March 7th that Polanco was uninvolved in those incidences.
Whittier has experienced a recent spike in attempted kidnappings. On March 5th, a 30 to 40-year-old man grabbed a 12-year-old boy at a park located at 15390 Lambert Road and told him not to make any noise. The boy made enough noise to alert his older brothers who were playing at a nearby basketball court and they subsequently punched and yelled at the man until he released the boy and fled.
In a separate incident, an 11-year-old female victim was kidnapped and forced into a red convertible at the intersection of Broadway and Citrus Street. The victim found herself in the car with another female juvenile victim, who was crying. The 11-year-old freed both herself and the 7-year-old and they both fled from the vehicle. The 11-year-old found her way home, but the 7-year-old has still yet to be heard from.
Whittier Police also believe that the suspect in the red convertible is related to a pair of February 5th incidences, where teenage girls were asked to get into his car. Both times, the girls refused and the suspect drove away before being identified.
Detectives are still investigating all those incidents. They recently thanked all of the local citizens who have assisted in these investigations, having received and followed up on hundreds of tips in recent weeks. The Whittier Police also advised local parents to use “common sense safe practices” when monitoring their children.
“If you can hear them you can help them,” said Whittier Police Community Relations Officer Brad White.
NBC Southern California: Man Arrested After Attempted Kidnapping in Whittier